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Artículo Tomo 70, Número. 2, Marzo 2017

Archivos Españoles de Urología

Current status of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy in urinary lithiasis.

Authors: Jose Gregorio Pereira-Arias, Mikel Gamarra-Quintanilla, Luis Felipe Urdaneta-Salegui, Jorge Alberto Mora-Christian, Andrea Sánchez-Vazquez, Ander Astobieta-Odriozola y Gaspar Ibarluzea-González.

Arch. Esp. Urol. 2017; 70 (2): 263-287

Vol. 70, Number. 2, March 2017

Over the last decade, urinary lithiasis` prevalence has dramatically increased due to diet and lifestyle changes, growing 10,6% and 7,1% in men and women respectively. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy has lost relevance in current practice due to endoscopic device development and unpredictability of results. Instrument miniaturization is leading to an increase of the percutaneous approach of increasingly smaller stones, while most flexible ureteroscopes durability and digitalization has allowed urologists to address larger stones.

So that, decision algorithm is now impossible to define, but what is clear is that ESWL has declined worldwide. Can it disappear as a urinary lithiasis treatment modality? If we don´t improve appropriate candidate selection and optimize disintegration efficiency, guidelines are going to replace the more “boring” ESWL by popular and more attractive endoscopes. Shock wave technology has evolved in the last two decades, however lithotripsy fundamental principle has not changed. ESWL has passed the test of time and centers dedicated to stone treatment should have a lithotripter in order to offer an appropriate balance in different options for different clinical situations.

New developments will be focused on improvements in location (in-line navigation systems; Vision track system) and automatic ultrasound location on a robotic arm; monitoring and stone fixation, implementation of different focal sizes with new acoustic lenses, multitask working stations that allow endourological approach, coupling control (avoiding microbubbles) and low cost devices for different applications. On the other hand, optimizing outcomes by: slower pulse rates, ramping strategies and patient selection with soft stones, short stone-skin distance, low BMI and favorable collecting system anatomy, allow us to achieve better outcomes in shock wave treatments. SWL still represents a unique non invasive method of stone disease treatment with no anesthesia and low complication rates; and a high proportion of stones could still be treated with shock waves and remains among patient`s first options.

This update objective has been to review the evolution, identify shock wave new developments and clarify their impact on our daily practice in urinary stones treatment.


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